On Walking in our City!

What is your opinion on pedestrian facilities in Hamilton?

While we do have some excellent walkways, such as our Riverpaths, we have long way to go before we become a pedestrian friendly city. We need to work on the quality and the width of footpaths for a start. But more than this we need to adopt smart ways of separating motorised transport (scooters, segways, mobility scooters etc) from the walkers.

We also need to think more carefully about places where priority should be given to pedestrians. I sometimes ask people where the pedestrian zones are in the central city and there is always a pause, before they consider Garden Place. We have very few areas that are better for pedestrians than vehicles (Cassabella Lane? Victoria on the River?)

Personally I’m  not keen on the  shared traffic/ pedestrian strip between Civic Square and Garden Place, with its wobbly cobbles and planter boxes. Nice idea, but not well executed. But I love the path around Lake Rotoroa (Hamilton Lake) and the Riverpath. I am looking forward to the repair of the London Street stretch early next year.

2. What, if anything, would you like to see changed?

I like the concept of people-oriented streets to be better embraced,  Urban planning practice should  make roads safe to cross and create areas filled with amenities people need (restaurants, banks, salons etc.) all within easy walking distance. This links to the concept of “urban villages” in the communities, where residents can walk to key services and shops selling daily needs. That is why I am excited by the fresh thinking for the Rototuna Village Hub, which moves beyond the typical large carpark with shops around the edge format.

There is no reason why new areas of city development cannot be  designed for safe and effective walking (and cycling). There are some incredible and low cost proven approaches in other progressive cities of the world.

I’d like to see more consideration of separating pedestrians from motorised vehicles.

I’d like to see more car-free spaces in the CBD ( this does not mean banning all cars) which are linked to public transport options, and feel park and ride car parks on the city fringe is worth exploring. The CBD shuttle could be reviewed to link parking areas to pedestrian zones. Lower speed zones in the CBD would also create more safety for walkers. I saw some plans for an improved Ward Street linking the green belt to town that looked exciting. I'm not sure where the developer or Council is at with that idea at the moment.

Our Riverpath is wonderful and as we turn development towards the city, we should explore ways to drive up greater use of this wonderful asset. This means improving accessibility and safety along stretches. The  West town belt is also ripe for better and more connected paths to link up the zones.

If you would like to see change, how would you see it being achieved?

We need to review our progress over the last 6 years, reflect on what has worked and why, and what hasn’t. Bringing together, urban design specialists, developers and walking advocates to share ideas had merit. This would be used to inform priorities and projects in the next round of the 10 year plan.

We need to reconsider that share walk/drive space near Civic Square and find a low cost way of getting that right.

And let's keep maintaining and renewing footpaths to reduce trip hazards.

Finally we need to take on board feedback about the Lime Scooter trial, to consider scooter free pedestrian areas, and in other areas low cost ways of creating separate "lanes' for walker and modern motorised forms of personal transport.

Love the marked scooter parking bays below. Dumping scooter in the middle of the footpath is unfair to those with disabilities and those who just want to walk,


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